There is a great love that is formed between pet and owner. If you have a pet, or had one, you know exactly what I'm talking about! Therefore, it's no surprise when a couple asks me how to include their fur baby into their wedding. Whether you own the pet with your partner, or are bringing your pets together, it is obvious that they play a very important role within your relationship and life in general.
As an animal lover, I always think this idea is adorable and touching. However, as a wedding planner, I know that when you are including your pet in such events there are a few precautions you need to consider. So how do you know your pet is up for it? Here are a few tips:
Before you name your pet as ring bearer or even a guest, think about your pet’s personality. Would they enjoy becoming part of the event? Is your pet sociable? Well trained? Do they scare easy? Are they shy? and the list goes on and on. Since there is no guarantee that your pet will be a “good boy” the day of your wedding, you really need to think this through. I know you WANT your pet to be there, but sometimes it's simply not the best idea for you or them. If you believe that your pet can handle the pressure, I suggest you consider hiring a trainer to help you prepare him/her for the big day. If you are unsure, but really want them to be there, you can have someone carry your pet, walk them with a leash or even put them in a wagon!
2. No Pets allowed?
One of the most important, but easily forgotten step, is to confirm that your pet is allowed in your ceremony facility or venue. It’s understandable for a facility to say no for multiple reasons, but don’t be dishearten! You can still include your pet during the day of your wedding by having them in a couple wedding photos, or even your engagement photos.
3. You want me to wear what?!
Just because you are willing to wear uncomfortable shoes the day of your wedding to look amazing, do not jeopardize your pet’s safety for style! I mean, you cannot really ask them what they’d like to wear, but you can definitely tell if they are uncomfortable. Yes, it would be adorable to have your pup dressed in a tux, but if it’s too hot and too stuffy then swap the idea for something simple. A cute bowtie or bow is just as adorable! Even then, make sure the accessory is in no way a choking hazard. Also, check to see if any plants, flowers or food being used in your wedding are not toxic to your pet.
4. But I’m allergic …
Make sure to inform your guest that your pet will be there. Put this information on your wedding website or send out a memo so that those who are allergic can plan accordingly. Also, keep in mind that some of your guest may be terrified of animals. In this case, a fair warning is always necessary. Lastly, allow parents to know that your fur baby may be in contact with their baby.
5. Say Cheese!
Make sure to inform your photographer if you’d like to include your pet in your wedding photos. Some have worked with pets before and might have some great picture ideas. Others may not like pets at all. Again, the more you inform, the better.
6. Pet Sitter
A wedding can be very overwhelming. Worrying about your pet will add to this feeling. The best action to take is to hire a pet sitter for the day. This way you won’t be worried about who is feeding your pet what, where your pet is, etc. You can ask the pet sitter to bring them to the ceremony, watch them at the reception, and even take them home at a certain time. Make sure you trust this individual and that your pet gets along with them as well. Do not hire the first sitter you find, and it's probably best to “try out” the sitter before the day of. Whatever you decide, DO not ask a family member to do this job. They want to have a good time and celebrate with you.
7. Lions and tigers and bears …
Usually when we think of a pet, “dog” and “cat” come to mind. However, you can really include any pet of yours as long as it’s safe for you, them and your guest. If you have a horse, consider riding her down the aisle. Take pretty portraits with your bunny, or bring out your owl at night (in a safe bird cage).
Below is a list of ways to include your pet in your wedding.
1. Use your pet to propose! Definitely a “yes!”
2. Ring Bearer or Flower "Girl"
3. Save the dates, invitations, thank you cards
4. Engagement or Wedding photos
5. Special jobs, such as a sign holder or usher
6. Bouquet? Nah. Carry your pet down with you.
7. Include them in your vows
8. Have someone design a pet cake holder for you